Nebula Search is a browser extension for Mac OS and PC. It showcases an attractive homepage wallpaper and asserts that it specializes in improving online searches and to accomplish this, it replaces default homepage and search tool with Find.nebulasearch.net. The bad thing is, Nebula Search is often installed on the computer even without necessary permission from the computer user. Therefore, while it is currently promoted as valuable internet software add-on, computer security enthusiast dubbed it as potentially unwanted program (PUP).
Nebula Search as PUP
The sneaky ways of Nebula Search authors in utilizing several types of deceitful method in propagating the program is the main reason why it was listed under the category of PUP. It only means that most computer users who have it on their browser have no personal intention for the acquisition. This can be true because it is a fact that Nebula Search commonly enters the computer uninvited through another file installer or technically called software bundle. Most of the time Nebula Search or previous variants as Burst Search and Flare Search are tied together with freeware like games, productivity apps, internet speed boosters, media converter, and so on. Unfortunately, computer users will never get to know the full contents because installation process of the freeware does not disclose the inclusions. As a result, Nebula Search will be an added element to default browser program after the full installation of the freeware.
To counter this tactics, it is best to run the setup process via Advanced or Custom mode. This way, you will be able to see all the contents, opt-out in the installation of additive applications, and load only the desired one or the main program.
Nebula Search as Adware
Once Nebula Search is installed on the browser application, it commits several changes on the settings that will give way for the objective of attackers and that is to exploit internet apps to generate profit. Several kinds of advertisements will show up on the browser that in most instances, are too annoying. It supersedes the current page and certainly blocks web user’s view.
Part of the revenue generation of Nebula Search is to collect several user’s browsing data that attackers can use to elevate their profit by displaying personalized ads. Injected code on the browser is able to gather details like search keywords, favorite websites, visited pages, IP address, and other relevant browsing information. As such, Nebula Search causes risks to internet user’s online confidentiality that often leads to privacy theft. Therefore, immediate removal of this unwanted browser extension is important. Full guide to get rid of Nebula Search is part of this publication. Browse to the next section for procedures and tools that are helpful in eliminating the threat.
Nebula Search Removal Procedure for PC
Below is a systematic instruction that is very useful in getting rid of the potentially unwanted program (PUP) from compromised computer.
In order to totally eliminate the threat, it is vital to follow the process in exact manner.
Step 1: Quick Fix - Scan the computer with Anti-malware Program
1. Download the free anti-malware scanner called MalwareBytes Anti-Malware.
Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Download Link (this will open a new window)
2. After downloading, install the program. It may run automatically or you have to double-click on the downloaded file MBSetup.exe.
3. Proceed with the installation using only the default setup. If you need the complete setup procedure, it is available on the download page.
4. After the installation process, click Get Started to run the program.
5. Continue with the prompts until the main program opens.
6. On Malwarebytes Anti-malware console, click on Scan to run the most comprehensive detection method and find any hidden items linked to Nebula Search.
7. Wait for the anti-malware to finish scanning the computer.
8. When scanning is done, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware will display the list of identified threats. Remove all identified threats including Nebula Search and restart the computer to finalized the scan process.
The above procedures should have totally eliminated the browser hijacker. However, if you still find that there are still remnants of Nebula Search on internet application, please proceed to manual removal of associated objects as outlined below.
Step 2: Delete Browser Extension
Most adware and unwanted programs are using a program called browser extension to be able to take over the settings of internet applications. Therefore, we highly recommend to check and remove the extension that is closely related to Nebula Search.
Remove Nebula Search Extension from Google Chrome
1. Open Google Chrome browser.
2. Type chrome://extensions/ in the address bar and press Enter on keyboard.
3. Find Nebula Search or relevant entry and remove it from Google Chrome.
Uninstall Nebula Search Extension from Firefox
1. Open Mozilla Firefox browser.
2. Type about:addons in the address bar and press Enter on keyboard.
3. Choose Extensions on sidebar menu.
4. Look for object that is pertaining to Nebula Search and remove it from the browser.
Remove Nebula Search Add-ons from Internet Explorer and Edge Browser
1. Open Internet Explorer program.
2. Go to top Menu and click Tools. Then, select Manage Add-ons from the drop-down list.
3. Look for and Remove or Disable entries of Nebula Search from Toolbars and Extension and Search Providers section.
4. Close the window and restart Internet Explorer.
If Nebula Search is still present on the IE browser, another option is to remove the adware from Windows Control Panel.
5. Press Windows Key + R and then, type appwiz.cpl command.
6. Program and Features window will open. Arrange the list in chronological manner with recently installed applications on top. To do this, click on 'Installed On' column.
7. Select Nebula Search or recently installed unwanted entry. Then, click on Uninstall to remove it from Windows system.
Step 3: Scan and Delete Adware with AdwCleaner
In addition to the procedure, we suggest scanning the computer with AdwCleaner tool. Possibly, there are some traces of Nebula Search on the browser that was not deleted during the preceding steps. This tool will scan the computer and check for presence of malicious applications.
1. Follow the link below to download the tool called AdwCleaner.
Click here to download AdwCleaner (this will open a new window)
2. When the download has completed, please close all running programs on the computer especially browsers affected by Nebula Search.
3. Browse the location of the downloaded file and double-click on adwcleaner_Ver.exe to start running the tool. Then, click on Scan button.
4. AdwCleaner searches the computer for malicious programs, extensions, plug-ins, adware, and any items that may be associated to Nebula Search.
5. Clean or Remove all suspicious and harmful items identified after the thorough scan.
6. After the cleanup procedure, rebooting the computer is required to finalize the removal of detected threats.
Procedures to Remove Nebula Search from Mac
This section contains comprehensive guide for Mac users. It will help you remove malicious browser hijacker from internet application.
Procedures on this page are written in a manner that can be easily understand and execute by Mac users.
Step 1 : Quick Fix - Scan the System with Combo Cleaner
Combo Cleaner is a trusted Mac utility application with complete antivirus and optimization features. It is useful in dealing with adware, malware, and PUP's. Moreover, it can get rid of malicious browser hijacker like Nebula Search. You may need to purchase full version if you require to maximize its premium features.
1. Download the tool from the following page:
Click here to Download Combo Cleaner (this will open a new window)
2. Double-click the downloaded file and proceed with the installation.
3. In the opened window, drag and drop the Combo Cleaner icon onto your Applications folder icon.
4. Open your Launchpad and click on the Combo Cleaner icon.
5. Wait until antivirus downloads it's latest virus definition updates and click on "Start Combo Scan" to start removing Nebula Search.
6. Free features of Combo Cleaner include Disk Cleaner, Big Files finder, Duplicate files finder, and Uninstaller. To use antivirus and privacy scanner, users have to upgrade to a premium version.
Proceed with the rest of the removal steps if you are comfortable in manually removing malicious objects associated with the threat.
Step 2 : Delete Nebula Search from Mac Applications
1. Go to Finder.
2. On the menu, click Go and then, select Applications from the list to open Applications Folder.
3. Find Nebula Search or any unwanted program.
4. Drag Nebula Search to Trash Bin to delete the application from Mac.
5. Right-click on Trash icon and click on Empty Trash.
Step 3 : Remove Browser Extensions that belongs to Nebula Search
1. Locate the add-on or extension that is relevant to the hijacker. To do this, please follow the following depending on affected browser.
Safari - Choose Preferences from the Safari menu, then click the Extensions icon. This will open a window showing all installed extensions.
Chrome - Select Preferences from the Chrome menu, and then click the Extensions link found on the left pane.
Firefox - Choose Add-ons from the Menu. Look at both the Extensions and Plugins lists when it opens a new window.
2. Once you have located Nebula Search or , click on Remove or Uninstall, to get rid of it.
3. Close the browser and proceed to the next steps.
Step 4 : Delete Malicious Files that have installed Nebula Search
1. Select and copy the string below to your Clipboard by pressing Command + C on your keyboard.
2. Go to your Finder. From the menu bar please select Go > Go to Folder...
3. Press Command + V on your keyboard to paste the copied string. Press Return to go to the said folder.
4. You will now see a folder named LaunchAgents. Take note of the following files inside the folder:
The term unknown is just a representation of the actual malware name. It is normally an unfamiliar file name such as the following:
- Burst Search, Flare Search
If you cannot find the specified file, please look for any unfamiliar or suspicious entries. It may be the one causing Nebula Search to be present on your Mac. Arranging all items to see the most latest ones may also help you identify recently installed unfamiliar files. Please press Option + Command + 4 on your keyboard to arrange the application list in chronological order.
Important: Take note of all the suspicious files as you may also delete the same item on another folder as we go on.
5. Drag all suspicious files that you may find to Trash.
6. Please restart the computer.
7. Open another folder using the same method as above. Copy and Paste the following string to easily locate the folder.
8. Look for any suspicious items that are similar to the ones in Step 4. Drag them to the Trash.
9. Repeat the process on the following non-hidden folders (without ~):
Optional : For locked files that cannot be removed, do the following:
1. Go to Launchpad, Utilities folder, open Activity Monitor.
2. Select the process you want to quit.
3. Click on Force Quit button.
4. You may now delete or remove locked files that belongs to Nebula Search homepage hijacker.
Step 5 : Double-check with MBAM Tool for Mac
1. Download Malwarebytes Anti-malware for Mac from this link:
Click here to download MBAM for Mac
2. Run Malwarebytes Anti-malware for Mac. It will check for updates and download if most recent version is available. This is necessary in finding recent malware threats including Nebula Search.
3. If it prompts to close all running web browser, please do so. Thus, we advise you to PRINT this guide for your reference before going offline.
4. Once it opens the user interface, please click on Scan button to start scanning your Mac computer.
5. After the scan, Malwarebytes Anti-malware for Mac will display a list of identified threats, Nebula Search is surely part of it. Be sure to select all items in the list. Then, click Remove button to clean the computer.
Step 6 : Remove Nebula Search from Homepage and Search
- Open your Safari browser.
- Go to Safari Menu located on upper left hand corner, and then select Preferences.
- Under General tab, navigate to Default Search Engine section and select Google or any valid search engine.
- Next, be sure that "New Windows Open With" field is set to Homepage.
- Lastly, remove Nebula Search from the Homepage field. Replace it with your preferred URL to be set as your default homepage.
- Open Chrome browser.
- Type the following on the address bar and press Enter on keyboard : chrome://settings/
- Look for 'On Startup' area.
- Select 'Open a specific page or set of pages'.
- Click on More Actions and select Edit.
- Enter the desired web address as your home page, replacing Nebula Search. Click Save.
- To set default search engine, go to Search Engine area.
- Click on 'Manage search engines...' button.
- Go to questionable Search Engine. Click on More Actions and Click 'Remove from list'.
- Go back to Search Engine area and choose valid entry from Search engine used in the address bar.
- Run Mozilla Firefox browser.
- Type the following on the address bar and hit Enter on keyboard : about:preferences
- On Startup area, select 'Show your home page' under 'When Firefox starts' field.
- Under Home Page field, type the desired URL to replace Nebula Search settings.
- To configure default search engine, select Search on left sidebar to display settings.
- Under Default Search Engine list, please select one.
- On the same page, you have an option to Remove unwanted search engine.
Step 7 : Delete Nebula Search Login Items
Some browser hijacker may also install login item into compromised account under System Preferences. This object automatically runs Nebula Search during user log in.
1. Go to Apple menu and choose System Preferences.
2. Select Users & Groups from the preferences window.
3. You may need to Unlock this area in order to make changes. Click on the Lock icon on lower left corner of the window.
4. Next, select user account that runs Nebula Search.
5. Click on Login Items tab.
6. Select Nebula Search, , or any suspicious entries from the list and click on the minus [-] button and confirm your actions. Please see image below for reference.
Optional : If unable to change browser settings, execute these steps:
Some user complains that there is no way to change browser settings because it is grayed out by Nebula Search. In such situation, it is important to check if there is unwanted profile. Please do the following:
1. Quit any running applications and launch System Preferences from your Dock.
2. Under System Preferences, click Profiles.
3. Select , Nebula Search or any relevant profile from the left pane. See image below.
4. At the bottom of this window, click minus [-] button to delete the account. Please refer to image above.
5. Close the Profiles window and open the affected browser to change all settings associated with Nebula Search.
Get rid of Find.nebulasearch.net Pop-ups (Notification)
Most of the time, browser hijackers are combined with intrusive pop-up ads originating from the source website Find.nebulasearch.net. It is taking advantage of push notification feature of popular internet programs like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, or Edge. These pop-up ads from Find.nebulasearch.net are extra ordinary as it exceeds the normal display volume and they are certainly annoying.
Normally, Find.nebulasearch.net pop-ups will start to bombard internet browser screen with pop-ups if web user was deceived to click “Allow” button that triggers the said website to send push notification. To stop Find.nebulasearch.net from showing the pop-ups, please execute the procedures below. Remember, these steps may only be sucessful after the removal of the main component or dubious browser extension.
1. On Google Chrome browser, input the following in the address bar and press Enter:
2. Navigate to the list under "Allow" section and look for Find.nebulasearch.net.
3. Click the ellipses (3 dots) beside Find.nebulasearch.net list to reveal the options.
4. Click on Block or Remove to stop Find.nebulasearch.net from displaying pop-up ads on Google Chrome browser.
6. Please restart Google Chrome browser.
1. On Mozilla Firefox browser, type the following in the address bar and press Enter key:
2. Navigate below to Permission area and look for Notifications.
3. Click the Settings button aligned with the Notifications.
4. Look for Find.nebulasearch.net entry and change the Status to Block.
5. Click on Save Changes and restart Mozilla Firefox and check if Find.nebulasearch.net pop-up is gone.
1. On top menu, click on Safari and then, select Preferences from the drop-down list.
2. Click on Websites tab to open its settings.
3. Select Notifications from the left sidebar.
4. On right panel, it will display a list of websites with "Allow" attribute.
5. Find and click on Find.nebulasearch.net.
6. You may choose to Deny or Remove it from the notification list.
7. You may now restart Safari browser and see if Find.nebulasearch.net pop-up is gone.
1. Assuming that Edge browser is open, click on the ellipses (3 dots) on upper right corner to open the Settings. Alternatively, you can press Alt + X on the keyboard.
2. Select Settings from the drop-down list.
3. Click on Advanced.
4. Under Website Permissions area, click on Manage Permissions button.
4. Find and select Find.nebulasearch.net from the list. Click on X button to stop it from showing pop-up ads or notifications.
5. You may now restart Edge browser.